Thursday, August 1, 2013

Calendaring Curriculum

I spent a few hours today going through all the curriculum I ordered a few weeks ago

Well, I spent a few hours a few days ago sorting through it and putting it onto the bookshelves and then today I went through it again.

Doesn't it all look so very organized?  It makes me smile...and then I remember my shelves are full and I still have a few more things coming and I'm not sure where I'm going to put it when it gets here.  But, then I take a deep breath, ignore that thought and admire the general splendor of well organized (for the time being) schoolroom bookshelves.

Anyway, that's not what I did today.  Today I went through the curriculum again to check how many lessons there were and then decide how many we need to do every week and quarter to finish in the year.

Sounds like fun, doesn't it?

Okay, not really, but it does help throughout the year when I wonder if we're on track.  Not that these plans are set in stone, especially with new curriculum, it's more of a guideline that we work and then adjust as needed.

The first thing I do is figure out how many weeks we're going to homeschool.  We follow the typical school year and so that means 36 weeks (for 180 days) with 9 week quarters.  I like to break it down into quarters because it's easier for me to see how we progressing when I have smaller benchmarks to look at.

Then I do a little math (nothing too strenuous) to figure out that if we do a subject 4 days a week it'll be for 144 days, 3 days a week works out to 108 days, 2 days a week is 72 days and 1 day a week is a whopping 36 days.  Why would I do that?  Well, I'll tell you.  When I pull out my curriculum and find that there are 100 lessons in James grammar, I know immediately that he'll have to work on it about 3 days a week in order to finish by the end of the year.

This helps immensely as I'm making out our checklists for the year.  My checklists are my sanity.  Or at least they allow me to hold onto a little more of my sanity that I would without them (which might not be saying a whole lot).

(this is Makenna's schedule towards the end of her 6th grade year)

After figuring out how many days a week I need (or want) to work on each curriculum, I only have non-weekly things left to plan out.

I haven't done this yet.  Nope.  But I need to.  Yep.

For me this will be scheduling out the books I've picked out for them to read (something an all-inclusive curriculum usually does for you, but I do for myself), which means picking the order to read the books and then assigning chapters to be read each week so we can get through them all by the end of the year.  This is actually my first year doing this, so I'll let you know how it's working (and how many times I have to re-arrange our schedule).

It's also planning out projects to do during the year like book reports, quarterly projects and any holidays we want to do a project of some sort for.

It might sound restrictive, but for me it really isn't.  Without a plan, nothing ever happens.  With my plan in hand, I have the confidence to change things around while still seeing how much we get accomplished.  It only takes a few hours a few different days (although, if you're a little crazy you could do it all at once) and I have the backbone of our entire year all laid out. 

An added bonus is the more I go through our new curriculum, the more excited I get about delving into it with my kids!! 

How do you plan out or organize your school year (or do you)?

Happy planning,

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